what to look for in outdoor gear for kids.

We are a very outdoor family, it’s just in our blood. Part of it is that Victor and I both grew up loving the outdoors, and the other part is that our kids just can’t be contained, they love to be outside as much as we do. P had her own climbing harness before she could walk and we took her camping when she was only a few months old. We are outside all year long doing whatever is in season: skiing, biking, camping, mountain climbing, you name it.

I discovered early on however, that there is a serious lack of appropriate outdoor equipment for little kids. A perfect example is when P started mountain climbing {at the tender age of one} and I couldn’t find shoes small enough for her. I ended up using water shoes {the ones with the rubber grippy soles} which worked fine, but I was frustrated that no one made shoes that small. The next hurdle came when we wanted to go camping but there weren’t sleeping bags small enough for her. I searched high and low to no avail, until my in-laws came to the rescue and sent us small sleeping bags all the way from Poland. I was astonished that I had to look abroad to find outdoor gear for my kids.

Well, I’m happy to say my kid-gear-searching woes are over. It’s finally {!} more mainstream that kids are doing many, if not all, the outdoor activities of their parents. I’m completely delighted to have found a company that caters completely to kids called Play Outdoors, created by husband and wife team Sarah Laufer and Justin Rae. Not only are they outdoor enthusiasts, they have kids who are as well, giving them an insider look at what it takes to outfit a kid for play. Their product selection philosophy couldn’t be more in tune with mine:

  • We are an ecologically- and socially-conscious business and seek out manufacturers and service partners who are like-minded.
  • Products we represent must first exceed expectations for durability, fit, and performance.
  • Products are manufactured and handled with sustainability in mind.
  • Products must be real-kid tested.

It’s ridiculously easy to navigate the Play Outdoors site, you can even browse by outdoor activity, and they have a blog dedicated to helping you have the best experience possible with your kids. Some of my favorite picks:

Dakine Grom Backpack
{via Play Outdoors}
sale, $20

  • Skate carry straps keep your board on your back when it’s not under foot
  • Reflective webbing makes you more visible on the way home
  • Dual mesh water bottle storage
  • Zippered front pocket for the little things
  • Bungee storage for coats and other gear
  • Pack measures 16 x 9.5 x 6”
Outdoor Baby Boy Fleece Jacket
sale $47.

  • Windproof and water repellent
  • Reversible micro fleece and micro fiber layers
  • Roll back cuffs for growing into
  • Large zipper and chin protector for do-it-myself ease
  • Soft hand-warmer pockets
  • Made in USA

(Visited 193 times, 1 visits today)


Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. Jenny :

    Thanks for the link. We are always scouring the internet for outdoor stuff for our kids. This website is pretty awesome looking. We’ve also had success with the Patagonia outlet in SLC and sierratradingpost.com.

  2. KJ :

    oh thanks for this. Looking for a sleeping bag for M and proper hiking shoes, too.